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The False Memory Illusion - Essay Example

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The False Memory Illusion

the lists are a product of free recall. Semantic associations must not be applied in reverse because they are generated using free recall and their only possible scientific application is semantically probabilistic.
Brainerd & Wright mistakenly interpret their higher FAS result scores as a result of suppressive processes used inappropriately "to reject studied items that preserve the gist of experience." (Brainerd & Wright 2005) This mistake has nothing to do with suppressive processes; in fact the rejection of these items is because their semantic association with the previously listed word is weaker and the probability of semantically associating from the first word to the second word should already have been known from the probability score, or the free recall. The priority of words is itself an illusion, not a false memory illusion; for example, each list must start with a word and it must end with another word. It is nonsense to suggest that the word following the first word might in some way be illusory. The semantic association that leads to the last word must take priority over any associative strength, whether forwards or backwards, because the lists are not illusory.
In a free recall exercise, as shown by Deese in his original paper, the first word is given to the subject who produces a second word. Until the experimenter has a set of words of sufficient size - and Brainerd & Wright's lists, at five words, are super short - there can be no backwards association. The lists are generated semantically. The final word is semantically associated only with its predecessor but not necessarily with the first word; however, the first word, is necessarily semantically associated with the final word. BAS is the illusion.
False memory is not an illusion that can be researched through experiments that involve free recall or semantics. False memory research by Brainerd can be traced to earlier research whose methodological errors produced Brainerd & Wright's current paper, also co-authored by Brainerd. (Brainerd & Reyna 2002, Brainerd, Reyna & Mojardin 1999, Brainerd, Reyna, Wright & Mojardin 2003) Each of these papers methodologically errs because it focuses on false memory, not true. This is noted by Brainerd (Brainerd, Reyna, Wright & Mojardin 2003, p. 762) but none of his research is about true memory. All research must attempt to establish the true facts and memory research is no exception to this rule. Brainerd therefore commits errors in scientific methodology.
Methodology in memory research must not be imaginative. Memory is not the imagination and researchers are not like novelists who create the future as they see fit using imaginary characters. The characters in memory experiments are subjects who must not be deceived intentionally, for example through the use of such devices as "critical distractors [sic]." (Brainerd & Wright 2005) These imaginary devices are semantically associated with words already in the lists and do not produce result that are meaningful - or memorable.

Section 2
In The Truman Show, a movie directed by Peter Weir, a character called Christof directs The Truman Show, starring Truman - or "true-man" - played by Jim Carrey. Christof (perhaps the false man) sits in the Lunar Room playing the part of Jim's father who died in a drowning accident, actually a false memory created by ...Show more


In the Brainerd & Wright model of verbal recall illusion semantic differences are arbitrary and corrupt. Forward and backward association of words is dependent upon semantics and not, as claimed, on any genuinely memorable association. Their results, used to argue the illusory nature of false memory, are unreliable because of a false premise: the Deese-Roediger-McDermott false memory illusion…
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The False Memory Illusion essay example
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